Behr Hella Service
Behr Hella Service

Eccentric Brit from the final phase of Group B

Many rally cars from Group B, such as Audi Sport quattro, Lancia Delta S4, Peugeot 205 T16 Turbo, and Ford RS200 which competed until 1986 are still well known to car fans today. The MG Metro 6R4, an underdog from England, that stepped onto the rally scene just before the final bell is often forgotten. The car, which was introduced in 1980, relied on powerful BILSTEIN gas-pressure shock absorbers and independent suspension all around. The engine, however, was an exotic one-off specimen which was not powered by a turbo, as was common in Group B, but relied fully on natural aspiration instead.

The three-liter six-cylinder was loosely related to the V8 from Rover and otherwise purpose-built. The large-capacity, un-supercharged engine was designed to get the better of the competition who were still plagued by turbo lag. However, the turbo faction unleashed a veritable power storm that wiped the MG Metro 6R4 with its maximum of only 416 HP from the front of the grid. In defense of the car, it ought to be said, that the engine often tripped itself up due to its unreliability. At the end of 1985, the initial success at the the Lombard-RAC-Rally proved the basic concept of the vehicle had potential. The Metro had to concede to two significantly stronger Lancia Delta S4’s and came in third place, but the “rolling spoiler” hardly managed to earn any more laurels in Group B. This was compounded by the fact that the series was banned after the 1986 season.

This decision was not the end for the young 6R4, though. Quite the contrary. As a popular rally cross car, it gained momentum and had second wind, whereby some of the strongest versions ended up with a retrofitted turbo. The engine of the potent rally Metro had an even greater career in "noble vehicle circles." Its hour of glory came when the 12-cylinder, initially intended for the supercar Jaguar XJ220, was canceled for cost reasons. After two turbochargers and half a liter capacity were added, it earned its keep in what was the fastest vehicle with road approval at the time. With its 549 HP, the Jaguar achieved nearly 220 mph during test drives, as indicated by the model name. The designation of the Metro 6R4, by the way, stands for "six cylinder rally car with 4 wheel drive". Apart from the engine, that is not such an exotic concept for a Group B car after all.

Opel Ascona MG Metro R64 logo

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